Landscape ecological history supports rewilding for biodiversity conservation and climate mitigation in Mediterranean

by Jordan Palli, University of Tuscia
December 15, 2022

A multidisciplinary historical ecology research carried out in Pollino National Park (southern Italy) reveals that rewilding processes triggered by abandonment or changes in land-use priorities have contributed to the conservation and local expansion of the relic mixed beech-fir forest during the last thousand years.

Rewilding was identified as a key strategy to restore old-growth mixed forest stands, which structural and compositional complexity generates countless ecosystem services since the late Medieval. In contemporary times, industrialization and urbanization have depopulated rural environments and a new spontaneous rewilding process has started. Letting nature have space without any other interference is a zero-input solution for biodiversity conservation and climate mitigation.

Many places around the world have been impacted by human activities since ancient times. This is especially the case of Mediterranean countries, where local traditions and land-use practices have shaped cultural landscapes. However, times change, and practices once extensively carried out in rural areas sometimes give way to other forms of land-use and natural resources management.

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